The relationship I fought for felt like an everyday dividing of my spirit. It could never be healthy. It would never be happy. It was a daily living hell. Sitting in the driveway, not wanting to go inside. Not wanting to walk in the front door of my home. Hiding away in the bedroom or guest bedroom became my refuge. Anywhere seemed to be a better, more peaceful place than sharing a space with him.
I caved. I conceded. I traded bits of my personality. I bartered with what felt right to me and what would make him happy. Each time I gave in, I shrank. I drank Alice’s magical potion and became small, unrecognizable.
The thoughts played on repeat in my head. The ones he wanted me to believe.
“You don’t matter. No one will love you.”
And when he said them, I felt them. I didn’t fight or resist. I didn’t try to compromise. Because I’d lost myself. I became convinced this was who I am. Not worthy of love. Not capable of being loved. My sole purpose became a daily ritual revolving around my never-ending quest to have his love. To be his desire. To become exactly what he wanted me to be.
I carved away self-esteem. Relinquished the movies I loved to watch over and over again. Changed the music I listened to. Bought clothes and lingerie to fit his style and preference. My hair color changed and morphed into what he said was cool. This became my new identity. There wasn’t a “me” anymore, only an extension of him.
As relationships normally go, I became frustrated in never being good enough. I walked away. I gave up on trying. It’s a devastating statement to admit “I’ll never be what he wants.” In time, I’ve accepted it. I’ve shed my tears and allowed myself to understand. I’ve sat in therapy. I’ve talked.
Then, slowly, like a curse cascading off my back, I began to heal. I began to understand the person I enjoyed. The person who I am capable of being on my own. I can tell you how I like to spend a Friday night by myself with takeout sushi and my favorite movies. My fashion is not for men, it’s picked and designed for me. I don’t have to hide. I enjoy coming home, driving to my eclectic music taste. I wear my hair long, sometimes straight and other times curled, depending on my mood.
This is the person I found. This is me. And I am worthy. There is value in my personal preferences. There is a life far greater and happier than trying to become someone else’s love. There is value in being you.